Kefir is a is a fermented milk drink very popular in Russia and other Eastern Europe countries. It is not very common in the US and the closest local match is drinkable yogurt but it contains a different type of bacteria and doesn’t exactly taste the same.
While in Ukraine I used to drink kefir regularly since I was a child and obviously when I came to the US I tried to find it in the stores. A popular US kefir producer is Chicago based Lifeway Foods (founded by a Russian immigrant by the way), you can find their diary products in Osco-Jewel and other stores.
A 32 oz. bottle of kefir sells for around $3.50 and not exactly a budget buy and so we often skipped it in our trips to the grocery store depriving ourselves from the great taste of the drink loved by many in the family. That changed recently after we discovered that we can make it at home with a very minimal effort.
Home made kefir is cheap
All we needed is kefir grains which we got from our friends but you can buy them in some health food stores (ask for kefir starter). The benefits and savings are tremendous! 32 oz of milk is 65 cents, compare it to $3.50 that the same size bottle of plain kefir will cost. If your family drinks 2 bottles a week it will result in savings of around $300 a year!
Home made kefir is healthy
The home made kefir is very beneficial to your health since it preserves the live bacteria - something diary products manufactures have mastered not too long ago (lookup the term “probiotic”). You can tailor-make kefir according to your individual taste: want it thin - use 2% or skim milk, want it flavored - add a fresh pureed fruit or maple syrup before you drink it.
Making kefir at home is easy
The overall process is extremely easy and takes at most 10 minutes of your time daily. The cycle is 24 hours but if you ever get tired of drinking kefir every day you can put it in the fridge for a week or two and let it sleep there. The bacteria gets dormant (the life process slows down) and will give you the break you need.
Kefir making instructions
1. Place kefir grains in a clean glass jar
2. Cover with 16-32 fl. oz of milk (depending on the amount of grains)
3. Cover with a cheese cloth and let it brew for 24 hours (or until it reaches desired sourness)
4. When kefir is ready, strain grains from kefir milk
5. Rinse the kefir grains with clean water and reuse for the next cycle
6. Enjoy your healthy drink!
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